The regular season begins to really heat up for Clay County basketball teams this weekend as Clay City gets a date with long-time nemesis Bloomfield, and Northview host rival West Vigo in a boy/girl doubleheader.
The Eels will look to break a six-game snide against another very solid Cardinals squad on the road Friday night.
Bloomfield, currently No. 2 in Class A, has junior all-star, R.J. Hughes back in the lineup after missing an early game this year. The 6-foot guard scored 10.2 ppg. for the Cardinals last year and is joined by senior starter Jordan Clark, a 6'1 forward that averaged seven points and six rebounds last year.
Also in the lineup will be 5'6 junior Bryan Holtsclaw, 5'9 Ben Helms and a frontline that will rotate William Dallmier, a 6'2 junior, 6'6 Michael Crann and 6'0 Andy Dulin.
The Cardinals are 3-0 heading into tonight's matchup. Bloomfield won overtime matchups with Union and Shakamak before downing Linton 39-36 last week.
Clay City dropped a pair of matchups with Bloomfield last season, the toughest being a 45-42 loss in the sectional semifinals. The Eels haven't beaten Bloomfield since a 45-32 decision in the 2000-01 sectional.
The Eels come into the game on a two game win streak after a 62-43 win over Eminence on Tuesday night.
Josey Vansickle went off for 25 points in the game and Garrett Thatcher tallied 14 points and eight rebounds in the victory that saw the Eels hold Eminence to just 37 percent shooting from the field.
Regardless of Bloomfield's state ranking and the Eels recent struggles against the Cardinals, Clay City coach Grant McVay isn't preparing any differently for tonight's game. "We aren't really going to do anything differently," noted McVay. "We prepare just as hard for each team. Obviously (Bloomfield) is very well coached and they get the maximum out of each possession. It's going to be important that we limit them to one shot each time."
For Northview opponent West Vigo, back-to-back close losses have provided a frustrating beginning to the year after an opening victory against North Vermillion.
The Vikings dropped a 69-65 decision to WIC foe South Vermillion in game two and lost another WIC scrap when Owen Valley posted a 63-59 win against West Vigo the next night.
For the Knights, who opened their WIC slate with a Saturday 67-55 win over Brown County, Friday provides the chance to add to a 19-game WIC win streak and take the early conference lead.
In the Brown County game, Northview got what they hope is the first of many big games from Nick Wells who posted 18 points. Frontline counterpart Heath Chamberlain added 10 points. Senior guard Shawn Hughes added 12 and sophomores Brodee Miller and Brinn Meunier had their most productive games with 10 and nine points respectively.
In their last game, West Vigo led the Patriots up until the final minutes of the game when they were outscored 20-6 and dropped the four point decision.
Wilbur Adams scored 25 points and Jake Peacock added 12 for West Vigo along with seven rebounds.
On Saturday, the Knights will travel to Danville for a contest with the 2-0 Warriors.
The Northview girls will also be in action tonight and look to get off a three game losing streak and get into the WIC win column after falling to Brown County on Saturday.